218 THE GAY GENIUS were orange trees in Ho's garden, he begged for some saplings to plant on the west of the Snow Hall. Two or three days later, the news came that he was to be transferred. While technically he was still to be "confined", he would be living in freedom in a rich and beautiful town. For a few days he hesitated whether he should not ask for permission to stay'at Huangchow. Theafi considering that the new appointment was a sign of the Emperor's kindness, he decided to obey and quit his farm on the Eastern Slope. At a stroke, the rewards of his years of labour were wiped out, and probably he had to begin all over again to start another farm some- where else. Yet even after his transfer under such straitening circumstances, his enemies were restless. A contemporary tells the following story: Su sent a letter of thanks to the Emperor. His Majesty looked around and told his courtiers: "Su Shih is really a genius." But his enemies still tried to pick fault even in Su's formal letter of thanks. "It seems to me," said one of them, "he is still grumbling in this letter." "How do you mean?" the Emperor asked, surprised. "Why, in this letter he says that he and his brother once passed the special examinations, and moreover he uses the words: *My heart still flutters, and I still dream of being in chains.' He means that he.ac i his brother passed the special examinations for frank criticism cfc1' government, but now he is being punished for his criticism. |, trying to put the blame on others." "I know Su Shih well," said the Emperor quietly. "Down in his hea: he means well." The petty courtier therefore kept quiet. It took him several weeks to make preparations for leaving. He decided that he would go to see his brother first at Kao-an, and there- fore left his good, dutiful eldest son, Mai, to bring the family after him and meet him at Kiukiang on his return from this visit. Now came the official farewell parties and requests from his many friends for autographed scripts, of which he tossed off a great many. It was at this time that the courtesan Li Chi received the poem which immortalised her.* At one of the farewell parties given by his friends and neighbours, he wrote: <4Let me go homeó But where is my home? . . . Human affairs shift and change like a shuttle. Let me take time to gaze At the clear ripples on the Lo stream in the autumn wind. Seepage 12.